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Kf 115 DO. 7 

nicADii iticc r\c dcdj 



Foreign militai'7' studies, Vol 1, Ho. 4« 
European Command. 1951. 




DOCUMENT NO. j*- 17 500. 4 C OPY NO. 3i 

<"t:st' FORM 

III Mm 01 

Army— CUSC— FI-UfiT— 2» Mm- 51— RM 





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This study is the third of a series dealing with the 
experiences of German prisoners of the Russians. The first was 
the detailed story of a German released in 1949. The second was 
a description of methods of interrogation used by the Soviets. 
The names of author and reviewer are withheld. 

W, S. NYE 

Colonel, Artillery 

Chief, Historical Division 


According to its official statement of May 1950 the Soviet Union 
has concluded the repatriation of the German prisoners of war. The 
fate of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers is thereby left un- 
certain. The, greater part of these men have succumbed from hunger, 
extremely heavy labor, mistreatment and physical and spiritual tor- 
ment. They are silent forever and are buried somewhere in the end- 
less expanses of Russia. However, their relatives continue to hope 
and will suffer until they have some positive knowledge. Another 
smaller number of them have "vanished," or have been "deported" or 
condemned to "silence." Among these latter are probably included 
all those who are not permitted to see the western world again be- 
cause their knowledge of the Soviet system and the infinite number 
of crimes committed under it might perhaps be dangerous to Communism. 
An additional number have been condemned to severe penalties which 
probably none of them will survive, in view of their age and their 
physical and mental condition. 

However, what is the condition of those who were condemned in 
the Soviet Union and are still alive? The evidence available to 
both the German government and the Western Powers is so clear and 
voluminous that probably nobody can doubt any longer that the 
Soviet Union has committed striking perversions of justice for poli- 
tical reasons. A number of separate reports, containing concrete 
statements, have called attention to these facts. The number of 
those condemned, some of them with out a trial, without witnesses, 
without legal counsel, without the possibility of an appeal, cannot 
yet be ascertained. However, it must be considered relatively high. 
In order to save face, a few convicted defendants have been pardoned 
and permitted to return home. Perhaps more will be pardoned and re- 
leased if the Western world adopts a resolute and energetic stand 
against these perversions of justice. 

What can be the underlying purpose of these convictions? We 
believe it is the purpose of the Soviet leaders to spread fear and 
terror. They propose to bring about a paralysis of the will to re- 
sist by announcing: "Look — this is: what will happen to you if 
you fall into our hands J" 

The German Reviewer 

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Historical Division 
Headquarters European Command 
APO 4.03 

YOLtME I December 1951 NUMBER 4 



Physical Disabilities • 3 

Psychical Changes • . 5 

The Treatment of Dystrophy, ........... , 9 

Foreign Military Studies . Prepared nonperiodically by the Historical 
Division, Headquarters European Command, for the purpose of in- 
creasing the availability of selected special studies and monographs 
prepared by or under the supervision of this Division and in coordi- 
nation with other staff divisions of this headquarters as appro- 
priate. The material presented herein does not necessarily reflect 
official Department of the Army doctrine or accepted practices, but 
is for information only* Local reproduction may be authorized upon 
specific request to this headquarters, A limited number of additional 
copies may be obtained from the Historical Division, EUCQM, APO 403, 
Phone Control Officer, Karlsruhe Military 2614* 




_ . .A. Memorandum, by the Chief Physician of the 

Convalescent Home' for Repatriates Operated by the ■ 

. Landesve^sicher.ungsansta.It for the Rheinlandr-Pf alz 
in Waldkatzenbach in the Odenwald '•' 

;In order to understand the disabilities of the returnee from 
Russia ? it is first of all necessary to obtain a clear picture,. of 
their causes* For this purpose- the conditions under which pri- 
soners of war lived in the Soviet. Union must be considered. Most 
soldiers 'enjoyed excellent health at the time of their capture. As 
the result of various rumors and the propaganda disseminated by the 
Wehrmacht High Command, they were in deadly fear of being captured 
inasmuch as they expected that sooner or later, after more or less 
painful interrogation procedures, they would, lose their lives. None 
of them was therefore particularly astonished, when, soon. after cap- 
ture his' person and baggage were thoroughly searched. . During this 
process everything of any value, Including snapshots, boots, and' 
serviceable uniforms and underwear, were taken by the Soviet soldier 
doing the searching. • If 'the- result of the .search was profitable, 
the soldier ■ who- had been enriched in this, manner naturally became 
gobd-humpredj, manifested this by jokes and the distribution of 
"Machorka^'/a ••br.aiid''. of -tobacco/,-- newspaper., and perhaps watery soup* 

/ At this' point the prisoner already knew that he would not be 
killed, but he was enraged because every possession including snap- 
shots and letters had been taken . away from/ hinu; It was depressing 
to stand barefoot, clad only in shirts and ti ousers , - frequently 
only' in drawer's , and sometimes even in winter on a dirty Russian 
highway, and then to be taken on so-called propaganda marches through 
the streets of Moscow and other large cities -in, order to show the 
wondering-' populace 1i0w : poorly/ the Germans, were plothed. Thus began 
the martyrdom of German prisoners of war . 

. "There' followed the trip Into the interior -of the country. For 
weeks the prisoners -were' so closely crowded-, into railway cars that 
it was impossible to lie down. They had no . adequate protection 
against cold and went for days' on : end. without -foody and when they 

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finally got some it consisted of a watery soup, fish heads, sauer- 
kraut and a piece of dry bread which mainly contained chaff and 

The toilet facilities consisted of a hole twenty centimeters 
square in the floor of the railway ear* Once a day at one or the 
other train stops the ; ; pr ( isonera received a .pitcher ...of wa;r& drinking 
water. Once a day,-- t^Q,v : v^;.questi'o5;' ^a's;-'#3jcedi ... '.'Who; /sick? Who 
kaputt?" The dead were carried out and piled up in the rear cars 
by comrades who were barely able to walk as the result of hunger 
and exhaustion. The sick, provided they had fever, were taken to 
the hospital car whi c^how ever differed from the. other cars only 
in name and because, of . a -Bed,, Gross .sign painted. ,on ; its • doors ,. They 
were not given treatment since the hospital -car . contained none of 
the things needed for treatment.;, In the railway. .cars -there was 
moaning, diarrhea, offensive odors, despondency, but also the hope 
that life would be better in a prisoner of; war camp, 

: What- the : pr i s oner s 'saw;' and experienced 5 -in carilp, -however, ' was 
wooden ' fences with < barbed ; ; wire •, guard > towers with ; searchlights , ■ ■'■ ■ > 1 
camp gate & guarded ; by sentries^ Russian •sbldiers 'and officers', "•; 
hour's " of waiting and r 611; calls and many Eburs- o^ - physical searches 
during which their last possessions-were' taken from them. Then they 
were inarched- 1 to" %h& bathhouse' 5 where all nail*- on- their' head was ■ ' 
clipped J and ail- body -hair'.wsis' shaved off ,. : including < also : the pubic- 
hair* For hashing they' were given a small pan with warm water and 
a"" cake - of ' s.oap : the size bf ;: 'half ' a matchbox* That was all the soap ' 
and- 'water there was. The' clothing they received - from the delousing • 
plant was-' torn, -stiff - m 

They slept in dark', wooden -barracks in which there were two or 
three tiers of bunks' along' the walls. There was a lack: of straw, 
and not a single ■ blanketv : \ The- 'windows " were broken, the floors 
rough and ■ there : was r verminV r Fortunate was : the man- who still* had- a 
« tattered :greatcbat or : ja : 

On the' following : day the ' prisoners were assigned to various ■ 
work : Brigades 1 . -• The ; - daily-routine was- as follows s . ■ After getting .;.':•• 
up there was breakfast, consisting of 7$0 grains-' 'Of thin soup , made 
with a : dirty -"piece' of f ^ish • and -%bme cabbage; then there was roll 
call'at the ;gate| marching; to the: place of 'work j' -eight hours or 
'more of ■• arduous labor .without- a' break; return to the campj roll 
call ; at the gate. : "lunch cbhsisted of .^750 grams of thin soup made . : 
either with fish^ ; diced- potatoe's,- bones-; or -tainted tripe, plus ■ v 
some "cabbage, -millet or barley, followed by 300 grams - oi-^Kas.cha; 1 . • . 
a broth containing cabbage, potatoes or barley? then followed a 
few hours- ' of work : in- the camp" since- it had to be .organized. Supper 
consisted of '750- grams' of thin -soup with the usual ingredients,, to . 
which -was added a daily ration of from 400 to .600 grams of moist 
bread made- of coarse' -grain',- : chaff and -straw.' ' is ; dessert -the • •: 

^p£±son&£3 : - ff&&eyse£v&& an 11 anti-Fas cist" "lecture, delivered by. a 
Russian off ice-r^br- a .'German a^ti^Fas cist* , ; . . - 

In addition, the' : men were-, interrogated, .punished by confine*- ' . . 
rnent or tne/ assignment of "extra duties.,- or -by : .. being put into penal . 
units* ; TPhes'e- cdrditiohs- lasted for 'years,, .during -which .time the 
prisoners' had no contact with : rtheir relatives* - When -finally allowed 
to write | they often .received no reply to : the., one ; monthly post card- 
which "contained no' more than 25 - words • ,?;Food 7;as-.f or; years, the fpre^ 
most topic of' discussion in all. wards and work places. For years 
everything- ■■was' "-standardized: ,The work, the time, ( the -rations, one's 
place on the bunk, the water for bathing, the soap for washing, the 
post card home, one f s place in the camp vacation home, one* s place 
in the Hospital and' frequently. the- number of . those exempted from 
work , those employed -inside ■ the camp, . and; so on.. The . remark made by 
a German of ficer ' soon./ after being-., captured was .significant: "Com- 
rades^ -from now.' 'on Use youi* . mouth only to eat. J" . " . 

The camp abounded with informers placed by the notorious operat- 
ional branch of the M"VD. Friends betrayed friends* Almost daily, 
especially during the final period i, comrades -disappeared, and were 
never heard of - again, The question that occupied every prisoners 
mind was: ' "Will ;1 ever : -go-, home ? n Qne : thin ray; of hope .remained: 
"I shall- manage- it somehow, some. day. I. shall, return home 1" 

- ' miserable existence such, as- this , especially if -it extends, 
over a long period of time., must inevitably leave a permanent imprint 
on a man, in fact twp= types of imprints.: disabilities of the foody 
and of the soul,- ' ■ 

■ Frequently the repatriate only, visits^ a physician because of a 
disease -of ~whioh; he .has '•■become ■■aware* .- Actualiy ; he-.-may- suffer, a 
multiplicity ■ of 'diseases* Their, symptoms generally. are as follows: 
Loss - of weight, reduced 'resistance,' : -disorders of the glandular, 
'nervous, circulatory .and- digestive, systems and of the heart, change 
in blood composition, disorder of -metabolism and of the bones* 

: ' The origin of abnormalities dn-.:. the bodies of- the repatriates 
can be explained, on the ; basis of what: has been said; in the foregoing 
chapter* The main reason . is. tp : be sought in .the protracted in- 
sufficiency and the : - unnatural monotony of prison fare, as well as 
the disparity 'between -a v low caloric.; intake and , heavy forced labor. 
The - diseases -are- • aggravated, but .their visible .-effects are concealed 
due to 'the- periodic* -changes'; in: the quantity pi the rations during 
captivity, as the result of. which; the progress ; of the infirmity is ' 
periodically delayed-' or: promoted.,, while its effects become increasingly 
serious * ; --''•''•'• ;. :■>:.'-. ••• . \ '.;,.•'• ■ . 

-3 - 


Chronic malnutrition of this sort leads to an exhaustibn of the 
body* s reserves and to the depletion of albumen stored in the living 
substance of the body; ■ This causes, - among other things, a pro- 
gressive atrophy of all body cells, and what, is by no means less 
Important, the atrophy of those parts, of the digestive system which 
absorb nourishment, a thing which in ;turn affects the appetite. The 
chemical pr caesse s, in. the bodyt-s -digestion of food are disturbed .- 
The lack of vitamins .'causes disease of the heart, the circulatory 
and the central nervous systems. Entire cellular Systems become 
atrophied due to inactivity.- The glands which produce hormones 
cease to function, i&aemia results;, in an insufficient supply .of 
oxygen, \ 

Thus there develops a circuit of harmful causes and effects 
which precipitates "the patient into a condition where the func- 
tioning of all organs is disrupted and all vital functions are ■ 
jeopardized,,. The final' result is' the series of deficiency ail- 
ments which .are so well known and which are described in Russia as 
"dystrophy." / . .. '•• ' • -,»•'. ■.'•'■.• 

The. Russians differentiate between a dry or emaciated and: a 
wet or oedemic form' of dystrophy, In the case of both • these forms 
' it often happened that at mealtime the prisoners ate just enough 
food to. keep themselves' alive' until the next, meal eight hours later. 
If the. next meal was' not forthcoming,, such men, although in full 
possession of their "mental faculties, lost all power to move their 
muscles. After another six to eight hours at the utmost, they died 
due to heart failure. I myself saw such a case, ' A day before his 
death. the Russians called the patient a malingerer. It was only by 
means of .an. autopsy that, the German doctors were able to, refute this. 

The. excitement was great — . how was a thing like this possible? 
•The standard camp rations, according ,to Russian caloric tables, 
¥;hi'ch .were ".daily... checked . hy a German-physician, averaged 2,500 

'calories per day*. Scientific research had .established that this in- 
take of calories was quite sufficient for a person doing light work, 
Firstly, , however, the work demanded was usuall3 r heavy labor or very 
heavy labor,, and secondly, due to.' thefts by both the Russian and 
German camp, officials., the proper rations ware never distributed. 
Thirdly, their quality was poor-, and fourthly the ingredients of the 

"food which went .to make up the- rations were inadequate to satisfy 
the -demands- of the. body. Above all, there was a lack of adequate 
amounts of albumin, which is vital to the nourishment of the living 

'• substance-' of the body and which cannot .be. replaced by anything else. 

• This- will- explain why every single: returnee from Russia is sick, 
even though he may not have had to perform hard 'labor and though he 
may have been given adequate quantities of food. It also explains 
why, as was discovered in Germany, they suffered from a third form 
of dystrophy namely Jt Lipophily, " which is a form of obesity. 

In. order to hide the outward symptoms of- dystrophy and to 
make returning .prisoners appear healthy and strong, the Russians . 
were in the habit' of subjecting them to a " f attening-up . cure , " 
similar to that given pigs;* During this period the prisoners had 
to perform either light work or no work, while being fed food that 
contained large amounts ; of carbohydrates which, to the extent that 
they were not used . up by normal body functions, were stored in the 
form of fat. Over the' .entire 'body there was thus formed a soft, 
flabby and watery layer of, fat that lent the returnee a superficial 
appearance of . good healthy although, just like those who remained . 
behind in Russia', 1 he .suffered from a la'ck of albumen, a substance 
vitally needed. 

During captivity, many of these deficiencies , fail to show, 
simply -because the. sum of biological and functional activities is 
reduced and simplified. Moreover, the body automatically eliminates 
so-called luxury functions at a time when survival is threatened. 
It is therefore not surprising that many prisoners become really 
sick or notice a slackening of their energies only after their 
return home. This accounts also for the perspiration and insomnia 
to which many repatriates are' subject, as has been widely noticed. 

The, human body operates' ah independent nervous system which' 
consists of two nerve groups;- the parasympathetic nerves (the 
"gastro-intestinai" nerves or "ego nerves/), and the sympathetic 
nerves (the "energy," "motor" or "social" nerves). During impri- 
sonment, it is the ego nerves which are preponderant, As soon as a 
man finds himself free again, however, and an independent and .honored 
member, of his community, the dominance of the ego nerves- gives way 
to a preponderance of the social nerve's. The ensuing higher metabo- 
lism produces unrest and perspiration. Thus • we can hardly fail to 
recognize in the repatriated behavior the close interrelationship 
of physical and psychical processes. 

Psychical Changes ~ 

Many readers . will, ask what produces psychical changes , and if 
•such changes are present, what they have in common with the. diseases 
of repatriates? It is generally recognized today that, psychical 
changes, feelings,.. sentiments and passions influence the functions 
of the body, • as for instance, in' blushing for shame, in growing pale 
from fright, in vomiting because of fear > and so forth. In contrast 
to all other creatures- man possesses the important capacity of re~ 
flectivo thought,: the' ability to think and to restrain his various 
natural activities. Reflection is deliberately brought to bear as 
a brake and thus the course of many, vital functions is curbed or dis- 
turbed by rules and precepts. Animals have no problems and follow 
their instinct. Because of his. brain, however, man' has to struggle 
with ideas, problems , 'conflicts . /This self-consciousness calls into 
being the "ego concept, " that is , the ability to differentiate between 

himself and others and evaluate himself in, regard to others. This 
ego concept, as directed "5V personal feelings, places man in op- 
position to his environment,'- either in" the forms of an inferiority 
complex or in the form of positive personal feelings. 

If the influence pf ..environment is salutary, enabling the 
individual' in : question to easily reconcile his own' personal feelings 
with 'the restraints,, of .society, , he will- conduct himself verj differ- 
ently, from a •person w"hp ; cannot^, or only r inadequately, strike.-. £ 
: balance between' the. ego . concept- and the ' community. It is an absolute, 
unalterable- fact that man depends on his : fellow' men,' for only through 
delations ; -with others .. is ••■ ; he capable of living "a well-rounded, life. 
YiFork, 'profession,.' love , .marriage ■ family and nation' are the most 
important ' factors, which .tie ;-the: "ego,-"' the individual personality, 
to ''.the' "we, " the community,, and" conversely the "we" to the "ego, " 
If these " fatitt&p*. are," oat.;' of. balance, " if : the conscious mind is', at 
odds with the' subconscious and if a contradiction exists between 
"I" and "We," then there, arises an unsolved inner conflict which 
inevitably must lead : : increased : inner 'tension,, to an unstable 
frame- of mind wi^fi Va.ll ' ; ati^i^a;m£'. conseq'ue^Qes..'. .-"Full harmony or 
■adaptability of ah individual 1 ,s ego. with regard to his environment 
is 'essential to make., his- world; -a worthwhile place in which to live. 
.However'y - if ";mah ajad.' his- e^i>onment' -fail' 'tq achieve an. inner 
muni dh,. the; result must. .be,-, a- ■ ; functional '-disharmony 1 which; creates" a 
predisposition to disease* , V. * 

• If we ;'comj5are what has. just been said with the contents of the 
first chapter, we .will* realize -that .a: -peri 0& such , as this.,, .filled 
with the experiences', and. contradicti-bhs' described .is bound to have 
a far-reaching effect.-;...' . ...... ' : '■'' ' : 

• .: .The German' soldier,, highly respected- the- world' over and, as a 
result, full -of self-confidence is -captured by the Russians* He. has 
•to eMure^a'' physical', search, -he.. loses' everything that 'he cherishes, 
his protests are .not only ignored ''but even "ridiculed *, ..Paraded like 
a circus animal" bef ore the Kussian-.'people/- always 'under heavy guard, 
inadequately clothed., "seriously- suffering' from dysentery,, without 
food for days, and then again served- a rich soup by white-clad cotiks 
or nurses, he is photographed, interviewed by the press, and propa- 
gandized. The municipal streetcleaning and sprinkler trucks fol- 
low the marching prisoners* If in camp, through their ingenuity, 
the prisoners make something., useful,: such' as 'a - knife,' a box, or a 
shirt fr.pnv rags, it is taken, away, from them v "Countless' comrades die 
every day,' or -are shot, because, they lack the 'strength to endure the 
hardships of 'marches, rai.X?/ay shipments 'y camp life' and work. The 
German •physician's'.^ . who have t he. ; c'onf id en-ce- -of ' the ' pr i s oner s , ar e 
unable to help, because, they are denied ' the- medicaments which they 
lost, when capti^ed. \ Shady and criminal' elements from penal units, 
so— called- "booty Germans'"'; ( " 3e utedeut s che " ) f ' have usurped power" in 
the .:. camps, and, under '.'the guise of communism, tyrannize and victimize 

their.' fellow prisoners,,. They are cut off from all contact" with 
their relatives', as far as the latter are concerned^ the prisoner 
is dead* Are his. loved ones still alive? 

Barbed wire, compulsion, hard labor exhaustion, disease, 
anguish, dying! No ear,' hears the sufferings ana! -groans I No kind ^ 
word as consolation I Is it surprising then if after first flying 
into a state .of rage and fury, and after fruitless resistance and. 
re be Hi on., the prisoner of war is overcome by resignation, indif- 
ference, .and., passivity ? . How we wate disappointed and shaken when, 
cases of thievery : among comrades became ever more frequent in campl 
And how. we were embittered when the Russian chief physician, a 
woman, sneer ingly said i "Niche vo, doctor, dystrophy is not so bad;, 
patients' with this .disorder are not quite *all there. tn This remark, 
was accompanied by a characteristic movement of the hand. 

Pieces, of mouldy bread and rancid butter were daily found in 
hospitals under the bolsters* of skeleton-thin men suffering of 
dystrophy, r who were entirely apathetic and who could hardly eat 
any more. It was an insult that the hopelessly sick received from ' 
the Russians their , favorite dishes , namely, rice, cutlets, and the 
like, and it".was'an irony of fate, that the famished usually died 
with a spoon in their hands. Such agonies had to be witnessed by 
every prisoner several times each day. For him;. there was accordingly 
only the question: "When will it be my turn to die?" Later on con- 
ditions, improved . somewhat, and moreover, a natural selection of the 
fittest had occurred, for only prisoners who had a powerful physique 
Stayed alive. • . . 

• After the. war we were told daily. "Work well and you will go 
home- soon* 11 : All the prisoners believed this and all of them worked ' 
hard, inasmuch as the -Russians had let it be known that every type 
of work was- credited as reparations in claims against Germany, Then 
came the disillusion.. Year -after year the sick and the. weak were 
sent home, those who were of no more profit to the Russians, those 
who were too exhausted and those who had contracted tuberculosis., 
and.' other such, diseases, and who .would ' have -died in the camps and 
still further increased the number of dead. There were accordingly 
two possibilities: to become sick and emaciated and therefore to 
be returned home, or else to remain and work and suffer. 

The only. hope was peace and the influence of the Western Powers, 
whose ideals, were humanitarian and who had propagated these ideals, 
during the' war in radio broadcasts, that often had been listened to 
in. defiance . of regulations, or in newspapers and the war crimes 
trials. The Western Powers failed in their efforts to influence the 

A wedged-shaped "pillow" placed under the regular pillow of a 


Soviet Union* Not a single international cpmmission has so far 
succeeded in gaining access to. a Russian prisoner of war camp. Is 
it surprising therefore that the last hope has disappeared and the 1 
last shred. of confidence has been lost?. Is it any wonder if the 
prisoner began to think of himself as merely 'a number .among many, 
without personal value , and if inferiority' complexes appeared, if 
he became easily excitable, insulted and enraged? . 

The prisoner had to. submit to compulsion everywhere* Com- 
pulsion to perform more; and more hard labor; compulsion to .parties ** 
pate in political meetings^ compulsion to sign his signature to 
resolutions, compulsion to write articles for the' bulletin boards 
and to participate in- cultural meetings, compulsion to have his 
hair flipped and his pubic . hair shaved, compulsion to bear, up under 
the Russians 1 sarcasm. Not counting a few exceptions, there was' 
never- a chance to sit down in leisure, to talk or write to. someone 
about personal problems, . to read a good book, to wear decent and 
clean clothing. Not a chance, to' move freely, outside of 'barbed wire 
without : armed guards! Everyone was .afraid of being beaten by the 
guards, afraid of interrogations by the operational branch of . the 
MVD, afraid of being betrayed by his closest friend, afraid of 
disease and of starving to death, afraid of , being accused of sabotage , 
of being denounced for "Fascist" talk or acts, because of refusal to 
work, afraid of being /. sentenced to hard labor- in prison because of 
any of these "crimes," afraid because he might have, belonged to a 
unit employed against partisans, or which had demolished a bridge, 
or had participated in assaults on a city, and so oh. Is. this not 
bound to result in taciturnity, animosity, inhibitions, internal 
rage and pressure, depressions, inferiority complexes? Should we 
feel surprised if the repatriate comes back home full of resent- 
ment against everybody, if he is uncommunicative, resentful, despon- 
dent, suffering from a sense of inferiority, subject to all sorts 
of Inhibitions, if he stammers,,, is pa-ssive, hunted, restless, with- 
out initiative, if he secludes himself from his. surroundings and 
from his nearest relatives, and finally, if he has lost faith in 

No, : there is bound to be disharmony, and its consequences will 
become noticeable in, his. physical functions and these, together with 
the organic Injuries, make up the picture of a repatriate with 

<; The drastic physical changes brought about in the repatriate 
after his homecoming, when he again meets with. living conditions he 
has missed for many . years, undoubtedly constitute a. new hazard to 
his health. The physicians caring for these patients require a lar^ 
measure of psychological and medical understanding and, most of all, 
they need patience. 

The Treatment of Dystrophy , -'• : 'y- ■ - ,'. \ 

c - The' Russians, -who had for a long time been familiar with, 
dystrophy and- for years had had opportunity to study it,' gave Ger- 
man doctors: ti\e . first hints about tr.eating'.dt,. .The hospitals had 
■special (dystrophy diets' which contained about 3,000 calories, and . 
in which the intake of liquids was limited, although adequate 
amounts .: of .-vspiqes "were . stfg]?Med - and; • whicsh contained, in the form 
of meat, fish, and milk, as touch animal albumen as was required •' 
for a daily minimum. Moreover, the patients received adequate , 
amounts- of vitamins,... Digestion -was aided by hydrochloric acids 
and: pepsin* , .;■ 

-its soon as their health had reasonably improved, the patients 
were released from the hospital and sent to "O.K. barracks" (O.K. 
stands for H osdorowitj elnaj a Komanda" or cpnvalsscent details J.- 
Here they; 7/ere- to recuperate, which- -they usually did. ; They- were - 
detailed to light work, such as potato peeling! and sweeping the 
'area, and were, told to. take a stroll several times a day within' 
: the <jamp, to lie i n open' air during the- .summer'* Occasionally 
they 'were led % a nurse or an unarmed guard ^on promenades outside 
the- camp which lasted 'one or ; two hours, at which time they had to 
pick nettles to be .used in soups, - Each morning. they had to parti- 
cipate -in brief physical training exercises in order to move- and 
loosen' up; their .mus.cies'.;. : "'.'6n"'-the whole, the Russians rarely annoyed 
the -patients. They came 'in? contact, most!}/- with, the nurses, who. 
tried to'-'be pleasant. .At times an extra post card was handed put, 
-.Change. and< ..mental stimulation- was provided by lectures and cultural 
recitals. .. 4s.; previously .mentioned, however, if the prisoner failed 

• 'to recuperate, during, this ; cure/ -the Russians would consider him 
a gold-brick , a malingerer , a ' se'lf-mutilat or ■ and . a Fascist. ■ 

Once the patient. had recovered to some extent- he had to return 
to work,.;. .. After- -two- or , three months' the, same procedure started all 
over again', until, the^. individual was so exhausted- that neither his 
body nor his mind reacted any further. Then ho was sent home 1 . I 
myself have often withes se'd' the fact that in the course of these 
hardships, even .very intelligent men virtually .sank to the level of 

• idiocy,.:: that/ is,. '.the^Vfecame quite ■ childish* ' . ' 

During- the : . years of our imprisonment we became aware that the 
Russians-: had-, correctly diagnosed the., nature of this' disease - and that, 
although, they attacked the core of the problem,, their -methods of 
treatment were, .too superficial 'and therefore' inadequate. We are by 
no means satisfied to have : at the -.end of our treatment merely a 
"human machine" which after being started, will' operate reasonably 
well, although with some interruptions. We want ; to transform 
•'-■patients who .suffer, from, dystrophy into men who are in full control 
of their physical and mental faculties and .who .through their own 
initiative will become fully responsible members of their community. 

What me t hods are, we to choose' and. what obstacles must we overcome 
In our quest to bring these patients back to a normal life? • 

We. must take' into consideration all the above-mentioned factors 
which work together to make up the picture. of dystrophy, its physi- 
cal as well ;as its psychical characteristics* "Each factor is im- 
portant,' just-as each wheel is important in. a watch. If even a 
minor part- of. a watch is- out of order or does not function properly, 
it will not run or keep the correct time. Why should it be dif- ■ 
f erent- 'irith a human organism?- We must 'therefore try to. eliminate 
. every disturbing factor . . ; 

* ' ' Basically -the greatest damage' suffered by the patient was 
caused : by malnutrition and' its attendant lack of albumin.. Conse- 
quently, we must prbvide him - with a diet that-' contains s o much 
animal .albumin as not only to supply him with the daily minimum 
requirements, in order to maintain his present physical state, but 
as much more as will guarantee ; the restoration of - the-, substance 
.lost-while in captivity V Moreover, the diet' should contain the 
additional amount of ' other nutrients ^needed to provide, the in- 
gredients - necessary to- carry on .everyday living, ; ' the albumin being 
used only in promoting the patient's recovery. At first, the con- 
sumption, of liquids and: salt should be reduced. - The needed quan- - 
titles of vitamins must ' be -supplied, and the . frequent lack of 
calcium and phosphorus' must, be filled. Of : course, account Is also 
to be taken of the damage caused by malnutrition to the heart, 
circulatory, digestive and nerve systems, the secretion of hormones, 
and such damage may' have to • be . treated .'by 'medicament's. This method 
of treatment will" be 1 ' -aided- by revitalizing the patient* s . body and 
his entire personality, and by showing him the way passivity 
and frustration. This can -be accomplished by means of gymnastics, 
massage,, alternating hot and .cold. baths, walks and a sojourn in 
salubrious country air. ' ■''...',-.. 

It is extremely important that .careful and' painstaking atten- 
tion be devoted to 'psychical ciianges., which often seriously obstruct 
the healing processes. ■■ Tte' returnee must : give up his self-centered 
reserve, passivity, inhibitions,, inferiority complexes- and depressed 
feelings. He must be ' made a. vital -link In the community .of men, 
for , as has already been : said - In- previous- pages, man. Is capable of 
a full existence only in convj unction with his fellow men |. he can 
only develop all his por/ers if : he lives in harmony with his fellow 
, beings. ■ To change- the existing disharmony into harmony is one of 
the ■ foremost tasks • in dealing with, returnees i How : can this be 
accomplished? . For years, the returnee had to do without the most 
important element of psychic life,, .a" thing that Is taught by every 
religion: Love 1 '-■ , 

The lack of this love — * and I do not mean sexual love but love 
of 6ne f s neighbor — was in the last analysis responsible for the 

- 10. - 

psyc^iqa 1 l,..ohaAge§; in ...the repatriate and f or the fact, that his faith 
in ,€he c6m^u^it;y isj&s. 'shattered . . That v "tiaere is such a love", which . 
manifest sjltselif In ah unselfish 'desire' to help,' and' in a friendly 
and c or&LaX;; inter es t. in his past and even '.ntbre 'in his present and ' 
future .fate., must be. the daily experience of the returnee. '' Love. . ' 
is grea^^ec^t^.in ;thf ;psyChoipgical: .gi&dance .and, treatment of - 
the repatriate" '— - ' and also of his ehvir'dnment . For'dnl^ association 
with his .environment can give a man the .love he needs, and restore 
his .fait^'in, himself aM in humanity, 'It is theref ore necessary 
that the re'patr'iate lives under.' "unrestrained conditions and' in con- 
genial; .company, in p;r;&er; that he may become and remain a human 
being : again. '.'. ' '.'. " . /; ,.' _'."*' ';' '/ "'•*"'/' ' . ' " ; 

'"' lri.t)^\_'s^^%^ : i}^.i6Bc_ repatriates in the village of Faldkatzen- 
bach in the t^<4nwaid, of which; X: am in charge,' an attempt is being 
made to administer to all. these needs,. ' and I believe it has been 
shown that this method'is the right one. That is the reason why I 
would .'like, to ;'a'dd' '.'a .'few more words about, this institution, and the 
experience .1 gathered in the course of my work there. 

Fpi v ty~f ive .'beds been made available to us in one of the , 

• t hr^.e se^t.o^ium^' . '.X'Qcdted' • iii. ;'th4 8. Climatic, • health resort which is 
of rustic , character and' which is' situated at a medium altitude. . . 
In addition to the repatriates we have convalescing men and women 
fr 'dm all parts' pf Germany. The returnees are housed in rooms having 
two or three bSds each and usually' alpd ruhhing water and central 
heating, . In. the summer the patients . can lie down in reclining 
chairs . in mea4pws,. or walk ahd' ; hike iii ' the beautiful woods nearby. 
In." the.';w;iniie& ' ' tfeey . liave/.pppc^'tuhities 'for skiing and sledding. 
During'.'. inclement" father' they'.;can' play; games or read in the library. 
ffhiie.;.taking';the cure* ' ekch patient '. receives one DM per day for in- 
cidental" expenses.. Restraint^ are 'uhkhovm, " unless it be considered 
a ' restraint,,- t^is... t^'e'r'ijrefedrybisd' 'medical "regimen must be observed* 
and thaV; some'; brief ' hd'us'ehold .regulations exist which, however, con- 
, sist. only of; the impprtaht;;ba^ic' rules ' of human-decency and which 
fix' bedtime, at 2200 hours. Thanks to ample food supplies, the 
patients receive five nourishing meals rich in albumin to eliminate 
deficiencies, while" medicinal and'' physical, treatments are designed 
to heal organic, impairments. ...4s previously mentioned, a cure is 
not confined to the treatment of a; disease but also should bring 
. 'about in:. the',.pa'it#t % psychical Relaxation and the reestablishment 
. of contacts with... society/. .". ; . , 

" The^ main, factors; for producing, relaxation and- recuperation are 
happy .experiences, and! such diversions as will lead the patient to 
forget, pr at; least, become; less'; frightful past. This 

purpose, is ' primarily . aci^eved. by friendships 'which develop not only 
in . the .sanatorium but' also with : ail the villagers. Joint walks or 
' hikes.';-in . the. -tr iiiy; beautiful . ahi; roma'ntic countryside, conversations, 
small-pleasure as well as dances held 


" alternately- [£& tke>.:.' t^feC' i ^iiai.torivi&s, inperceptibly lure the re- 
patriate away frpm l^iis. reticence, remove his inhibitions and place 
him squarely in the .' c cmmuni ty . Personal talks between patient 
and physician, further this development and establish close ties of 
CDnfidence.. . By t,h^ possible to recognize deep- 

. rooted disturbances/ aM .'treat them by special methods • . 

Experience has sho?m that, during; the first two or three 
weeks.,, the repatriate prefers seclusion, is reticent, broods and 
goes. his .'."own. way r takes no interest in anything, stays aloof from 
parties and joint ' undertakings , and Spends a' great deal of time in 
his room or in some lonely corner, Alrsady during this period, how*« 
ever, he undergoes considerable changes. He loses weight, often 
several kilos, ' because the body progressively eliminates visible 
or invisible stores of water. Wrinkles reappear in his face> the 
bags around the eyes and the bloatedness disappear > he looks people 
in the eyes and he becomes more affable and accessible. The obese 
patients begin to gain v;eight v;hile gradually losing their abnormal 
layer of jfat. This, moment is the great turning point* The patient 
suddenly realizes he is among friends and he commences to take part 
in community life, in games and parties.' He is launched on the way 
to a community life. It is surprising how disorders of a different 
type, such as digestive and circulatory ailments and abnormal 
■ hormone- secretion either gradually improve, or are completely cured, 
often without any medicinal treatment during this phase. 

After eight to twelve vreeks most patients can be -released and 
are capable of accepting light or medium work, But not every case 
progresses so smoothly and simply. .'Among the repatriates who had 
been captured long before the end of the war, and who had 'worked 
under especially, arduous, conditions, ' and . the older soldiers, -who 
were past forty, .there were many men who developed damage and in- 
jury to vital organs, as" a ; result. Of 'chrdnic 'uhdernoiiri-shment, and 
these men could not be healed so . easily and .in • some instances not 

.at all.. Their further care. is. the responsibility of 'the repatriate * s 
regional welfare office, which is informed .by us concerning the con- 

: dition ; of each patient released from our sanatorium. ' ' 

There, are still other factor's whicfr ; of ten" interfere with the 
. recuperation processes, ' Lately there has. been an increase of cases 
where the repatriate's psychological condition suffered still further 
because his wife, either at. the time' of 'his homecoming or a' few days 
later,..had r :told. iiim that, she could not live together with him any 
more, because .she no?/ has . a :>l friend" " or f or some- other reason, A 
r pie . not . to be .. ignored in divorces. ' is ;; played by the repatriate 1 s 
often persistent sexual impotence or at least reduced potency, 
pwinger-, and ...other .authors .described the hardships due to- lack of 
: sexual , intercourse ' suffered " by prisoners' ; of -war ;: -in^ -Russia during 
1914.^ '18, .and ^ During' the 

past war nothing "was heard about this ; kind- ; bf' hardship in Soviet 


captivity and there were extremely few instances of homosexuality* 
Why? The reasons are the chronic malnutrition and especially the 
lack of albumin which, as., already mentioned before, led to a 
malfunctioning, of the h?ormohe glands and thus to impotence or at 
least' to" a sharply reduced potency. Unlike, the situation in World 
'War I", this . reduced' potency' was. not strong, enough to lead to homo- 
sexuality. ... Another,' reason' was the general weakness brought about : 
by hard labor . Moreover., the prisoners lacked stimulation since 
they 'seldom came in cohtact'. with women and these were, at least 
as. to outward appear ances, '.repulsive because of their vulgar and' 
'dirty clothing/ and- their untidy Id ok.;,. . 

.. The prisoner , of war, having as, a result been physically and 
psychologically remote, from' such matters, returns home. Because 
of the long' years of separation and the hardships he has experienced 
and. which", his wife and family have experienced, a certain estrange- 
ment between the. spouses is bound to occur . Let' us try to under- 
stand the situation of the wife, who . faithfully and lovingly had 
awaited, the return, of her. husband . How great is her joy at his 
homecoming and how disappointed she is when she realizes that he 
is no' longer "what he .'.used to. be..'? -.1-jiis: often leads, to further' 
estrangement, , irritation and arguments.. . . The result is that con- 
dition which! mentioned at: the beginning of this chapter. Patients 
in this category are the most difficult to treat, and cure. 

Another group of repatriates whose recuperation is seriously 
jeopardized is that of those who have been refused work by their 
former employers. .Every day I talk not only to refugees, but also 
to repatriates who until their induction had been employed in 
Western Germany,- and who now are unable to find employment. They 
live in despair be cause, they do not know hew to feed their families 
after they leave our sanatorium,. It was just- this concern about 
their families which sustained : 'the hundreds of thousands of pri- 
soners: through, the long and difficult years of imprisonment. It 
was. not merely -indiffernce, passivity: and; resignation to fate 
which — caused by malnutrition and enslavement — led to the re- 
latively -.low .figure, .of suicides during Russian imprisonment as 
compared to the figure of _ suicides during World War I. These are 
the very preconditions, which might make men despair and drive them 
to suicide. No, it was the greater sense of responsibility of ; the 
father for his family, of the son for his mother, or the brother 
for his younger brothers and sisters. Row was? a' family to live 
without a. provider in a period of great poverty and misery brought 
about by a war which had been lost? To build a new future for his 
loved- ones was the. final goal of .each prisoner and it was this that 
gave him the strength to overcome all hardships. Often enough a 
repatriate is able to perform light or semi-heavy work, but his 
former : employers either ha ve : no work to offer or only jobs, re- 
quiring heavy exertion. Yet where else is he going to find work I 
How gravely such problems influence recuperation is best illustrated 

- 13 


by the following -case history: 

A repatriate who had spent almost ten weeks recuperating in 
our sanatorium could not be helped beyond a certain stage of con- 
vale seance, All -efforts 'were in vain, he would not respond, . His 
facial expressions alone bore witness to his cares. Until then he 
had had no hope for a job. Suddenly, he was informed that, in four 
weeks he could start at some light work for which he was qualified. 
Without further medical effort within -a few days he lost not only- 
all symptoms of psychological disturbance, but a. clinical examina- 
tion revealed him to-be free, of all physical disorders. ■ 

Does' this case- history ^nbt give us:, food for , thought? Yes , 
indeed, and many people are now tackling this problem. The Labor 
Ministry and its subordinate sbciaX welfare agencies and employment 
offices are setting an example in that, they keep in contact .with our 
sanatorium and its 'patients and try to ease their road to readjust- 
ment* It has already -been possible to help many a man. However, 
this is only a drop in the ocean. As long as the community cares 
nothing for tlie individual and ' the individual fails in his duties 
as a citizen, as long as the employer does not feel a moral obliga- 
tion to lend Va helping hand, and, without considering his own.- 
advantage first and foremost* does' not find ways and means' to 
bridge the readjustment period, ' just so long- vdll a large part of 
our work be in vain. • 

In such cases it should be the duty. of the government to help 
the repatriates — - by their labor, which wa s credited to the repara- 
tions account, ' they helped Germany. The government could -help the 
employer by granting tax reductions for the time he. employes repatri- 
ates. I " believe that: by such a. method many worries could be allayed* 
In the final analysis * the health and future of a not inconsiderable 
number of German citizens, are- involved, citizens who could contribute 
to build up our country, to regenerate :" bur -communi ties, and who could ; 
make a "German living space" fpoiii. what is now the "German wilderness." 

I have endeavored- to report my experiences and .observations as 
chief physician of a sana tor ium ; . for repatriates, in' which the latter ■■ 
were shown the way to .physical and mental regeneration, -In order to '• 
show why this road has: to be so broad and the methods, so diverse and- 
why such institutions • are' ileces-sary* 'it 'all,;.'-in -Part I I-. tried to. 
give an idea of v;hat- caused 'prisoners of war in the Soviet Union to •■ 
'get into a condition- so -terrible that' it is probably without precedent, 
in conclusion I want to point out that in caring for the so-called, 
"late repatriate" we must not. forget the .Nearly ■repatriate,'" ' the pri- 
soner of war who was sent' home 'before the. .others, but only because 
he was in such bad health that he could under no circumstances be of 
any more use to the Russians. A large number of these early repatri- 
ates still are in urgent need of help. It is necessary that each bf -'. \ 

us, all of Germany and in fact the entire war Id should face this 
problem with open eyes and an open heart, in order that these men 
may again be taken back into the community as equal members and 
help in the work of building up a healthy Germany and a healthy 

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Headquarters , European Command 
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